Dec 17 (Reuters) - Japanese Formula One driver Kamui Kobayashi called a halt to fundraising efforts on his behalf on Monday and focused on 2014 after accepting that he had run out of time to find a competitive drive for next season.
The country’s sole F1 driver, and the most successful to date, had started a website campaign last month to raise money to try and keep him in the sport after being dropped by the Sauber team.
The 26-year-old said on his website (www.kamui-kobayashi.com) that he would have been able to bring a budget of some 8 million euros ($10.53 million) thanks to the response of Japanese companies.
“Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with competitive F1 team for 2013,” he said in an open letter to fans thanking them for their support.
”I have to admit that it is very sad and feel sorry for fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.
“I would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I start to look what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014.” ($1 = 0.7598 euros) (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)